Reset Linux Root Password In Xen Paravirtualised Virtual Machine

This can be used to reset forgotten root passwords in paravirtualised VM’s running on the Xen hypervisor.

1. Identify target VM name.

virsh list --all

2. Shutdown the target VM.

virsh shutdown vm-name-goes-here

3. Start the VM back up again in console mode.

xm create -c vm-name-goes-here

4. Quickly stop the boot process on the grub menu and hit the a key on the default kernel. Once the kernel parameters appear, append the number 1 to the end of the line. Then hit enter to continue with the VM boot.

5. You should then be dropped into a single user mode console, allowing you to reset the password as you would on a physical host.

6. Enter this command to change the root password, you have to enter the new password twice when prompted onscreen.


7. Reboot


Clone Xen & KVM Virtual Machines using LibVirt

This easy to use one line command is all that’s needed to clone an existing virtual machine.

virt-clone -o existing_vm_name -n new_vm_name –auto-clone


Convert VMware Fusion (.vmwarevm or .vmdk) VM’s to Xen

This technique allows you to convert VMware based VM’s across to the Xen Hypervisor (current version 4.1.3)

This step might be unnessaray for VM’s that don’t utilise sparse based virtual harddrives, but its best just to do it so everyone is at the same step. Find the vmware-vdiskmanager utility included with your VMware install.

On Mac for VMware Fusion this can be found at:


Or in some other versions

/Library/Application\ Support/VMware\ Fusion/vmware-vdiskmanager

Change ‘cd’ into the relevant directory once found.
Consolidate the VMDK file

./vmware-vdiskmanager -r vm_to_be_converted.vmdk -t 0 temp.vmdk

Copy the temp VMDK across to the target Xen Hypervisor

scp temp.vmdk root@target_ip:/var/lib/libvirt/images

Once copied, use qumu-img to convert the VMDK file to a RAW format
qemu-img convert temp.vmdk -O raw /var/lib/libvirt/images/temp.img

Create a basic config file for the new VM

cd /etc/xen/new_vm_config

name = “new_vm”
memory = “256”
disk = [ ‘file:/var/lib/libvirt/images/temp.iso,hda,w’, ]
vif = [ ‘bridge=br0’, ]
on_reboot = ‘restart’
on_crash = ‘restart’

Boot up the new VM

xm create new_vm

You may find network may be unavailable, due to a change in MAC addresses assigned to the VM. Use virsh edit to find the current MAC address assigned to the VM, and update the network interface within the VM accordingly. Then reboot the VM or restart network services in order to re-establish network access.


Installing VMITools (VM Introspection Toolkit) with Xen on CentOS 6

This guide provides a good introduction on how to install VMI Tools and Xen on CentOS 6.

Due to dependancy requirements, CentOS 5 is unable to support VMITools by default unless a more recent version of glib2 is compiled from source. Therefore we base this installation on CentOS 6 (6.3 at time of writing).

Xen Installation

Redhat dropped support for Xen based virtualisation with the released of RHEL 6, resulting in the need to manually install the required Xen packages. In previous versions of this post I have referred to Falko’s excellent guide on installing Xen 4 on CentOS 6, link to guide can be found here.

However the recent release of the Xen kernel 3.6 has broken compatibility with the latest version of the libVirt (virsh). In order to restore compatibility we will install the slightly older version of Xen until the libVirt library is updated to resolve the error.

First we add the repos that still contain the older versions of Xen.

cd /etc/yum.repos.d/

Edit gitco-centos6-x86_64.repo and add ‘enabled’ switches, so it looks like this. We only need this middle entry for Xen Files. The other repo we downloaded contains a better packaged Xen Kernel which we will use.

name= GITCO [ KERNEL DOM0 ] Repository

name= GITCO [ XEN-4.0.1 ] Repository

name= GITCO [ MISC PACKAGES ] Repository

yum install xen kernel-xen

follow the rest of falkos guide for the libvirt installation.

VMITools Installation

Install the required packages for installation.

yum install git glib2-devel check-devel

We create a folder named src in the root directory, to use as a basis for our installation.

mkdir /root/src/

cd into the src directory, and checkout a clone of the latest VMITools.

git clone

cd into the vmitools folder, then run the following commands.


After a while the output should return success. Then perform make.


As well as installing the library (Optional, necessary for applications wishing to implement the libVMI framework.

make install

Now when you try to compile some of the examples you will run into this error.

Can be easily fixed by editing your .bashrc file within your home folder, and adding this line.

1.) use < .bashrc > file in your home directory (instead of .bash_profile)
2.) add the following line to this file:


DO ONE MORE THING : also add this line to < /etc/ > file